Fayette Co. school leaders address safety following school massacre

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LEXINGTON< Ky. (WKYT)- Fayette County Public School Leaders say in the coming days, they will be on heightened alert following the shooting deaths of dozens in a Connecticut school.

"Your heart goes out to all involved," Director of School Safety Chris Townsend said while addressing members of the media Friday afternoon.

Townsend continued by saying this is why each school has so many security measures in place including how visitors get in the building.

"You can't get into the schools," he said while explaining the vestibules in all schools. "You have to buzz a monitor and say who you are and why you're there."

He says from there, folks can only get into the front office before getting access to the building. He says in addition to other measures he wouldn't discuss with us, each school has lock down drills twice a year in case of crisis situations, like a shooting. Those have been commonplace since Columbine, which happened more than a decade ago.

"That's when it came to everyone's attention that we need policies and we need to practice," Townsend said.

With many safety measures in place, many parents picking up their children say they know it's unlikely to happen at their child's school, but schools leaders say this is a teachable moment.

"This is another opportunity to sit down with your children at tell them I know you don't like it when we do drills, this is why we need to prepare," Townsend explained.

Fayette County Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton did send email alerts and voice messages to parents. They read:

"Good afternoon. This is Tom Shelton, superintendent of the Fayette County Public Schools. As most of you have heard by now, a tragic shooting took place this morning at an elementary school in Connecticut. Our hearts go out to all of those touched by this atrocity, as we are reminded how precious our children are. Topics like this are difficult to discuss with kids. If you decide as a family to talk about this situation with your children, I would encourage you to minimize their exposure to 24-hour news coverage. Instead, share age-appropriate factual information with them and answer their questions in ways that reassure them. We will be posting some tips for talking with your children on the district website, www.fcps.net, as soon as possible. Our schools are staffed with wonderful counselors and professionals who stand ready to help you or your children if there is anything we can do to support your family. It is natural at times like this for us to reflect on our own practices as a school district and I assure you that we will examine the safety precautions we have in place in our own schools and bolster them where appropriate. Thank you for the privilege of serving your family. "

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